30 September 2011

Jacob's Creek Reserve Quintet

Here's the latest roundup of wines from Jacob's Creek. We tasted through these during a virtual tasting with winemaker Bernard Hickin, and over the course of the following week I tried the leftovers with a variety of dishes.

2010 Jacob's Creek Reserve Dry Riesling
$13, 12.5% abv.
Light nose with mild, lemony acidity. Gentle and light all around, and dry but not bone dry. Just a hint of sweetness to go with the acidity. A delightful salad wine.

2009 Jacob's Creek Reserve Chardonnay
Adelaide Hills
$13, 13.5% abv.
Again, very mild but with a soft nose of apricot and peach. I was surprised at how delicate this was. Good with grilled seafood.

2009 Jacob's Creek Reserve Pinot Noir
Adelaide Hills
$13, 13.5% abv.
Strawberries and leather, deeper aroma than I remember from prior releases. Mild profile with a smooth, short finish. Not jammy, but the fruit is certainly there. Happily enjoyed with a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

2009 Jacob's Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
$13, 13.9% abv.
Green pepper and leather, hint of black plum. Surprising green tobacco and cherry flavor. More complex than I was expecting, somewhat Bordeaux-like.

2008 Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz
$13, 14.5% abv.
Licorice and black cherry with a bit of cedar. Medium tannins, long cherry finish. Nice with a lamb gyro.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

28 September 2011

Orange Bitters: Angostura vs. Regans'

Quick note: although I always welcome spelling and grammar corrections, the proper name of the bitters is Regans', because it's a collaboration between Gary and Mardee Haidin Regan. Now, on with the fun!

Years ago I'd put a collection of orange bitters on my Amazon wish list, because I was going to order it at sometime in the future. Then I got deep into the Fee's line and sort of forgot about it. One neat thing with the wish list is that people can buy something for you, it's shipped to you, and the only way you'll ever know is if they tell you. (My address is kept private, so it's not a way for someone to find where I live. Cool system.) Anyway, thanks to the anonymous donor who sent the bitters from Amazon. I've already been using the Fee's for a while, so I'll give that one as a gift to a friend. But I was glad to get the opportunity to try two others bringing my bitters collection up to 17. And what better way to test orange bitters than with a good martini.

For testing purposes, the martini was a 5:1 gin:vermouth ratio, using Tanqueray and Cinzano. I made one big batch and split it evenly between the two glasses, which each contained two drops of the respective bitters.

Angostura Orange Bitters
$7/4 oz., 28% abv.
Aside from the orange peel there's a lot of cinnamon and clove on the nose. In the martini, it gives a slightly hot, spicy mouthfeel. I think I'm going to save this for citrus based cocktails, and for cooking purposes, as I felt it threw the martini off balance.

Regans' Orange Biters No. 6
$4.50/5 oz., 45% abv.
Even though it's got a lot more alcohol than the Angostura, the nose is far milder, with more of an orange blossom aroma and more delicate spices. And we have a pretty good idea of what those are, because Gary Regan has publicly published the recipe for his No. 5 batch. In the martini it's much smoother, and really enhances the cocktail without overwhelming it.

After tasting back and forth, I added Meyer lemon zest to both, and got to try another two different flavor combinations.

Retail prices will vary across the country and across the internet. In general, the Regans' seems to be a couple of dollars cheaper, and you're getting an additional ounce over the Angostura. Plus, I think the Regans' tastes much better, so the choice between these two should be simple.

Note: These bitters were received as gifts.

26 September 2011


My previous post was CMXCIX. This one is M.

It's not a review of Fritz Lang's 1931 classic M, though I did get to watch that in my high school German class, and it was the first time I got to watch a foreign language film without subtitles and kind of know what was going on.

This is the obligatory thousandth post notification, which happened to fall between the wistful 35th birthday musings and the 7th anniversary of the blog in January (remember, the traditional gifts are wool and copper). I try not to do too many of these filler clip episodes, but I think my percentage of new content over the years is pretty impressive. Also, I still haven't missed a post on the three per week schedule. If anything I've tossed in a few extra here and there over the years

I'm currently sitting on two dozen wines that need to be reviewed, but in a rare move I'm writing this post right before publishing, and a tornado is on the way. I'm on the back porch with a wonderful martini, listening to the sirens, and watching the clouds roil and the lightning flash. This cell is passing north of Casa de Benito, but we've got one or two more on the way.

Thanks as always for reading, and if I end up in Oz I'll be reporting on whatever the Munchkins are making these days. Frankly I thought the 2008 Lollipop Guild Cuvée was a major disappointment. I have better hopes for the 2010 unoaked Chardonnay release of Yellow Brick. The biodynamic stuff from the guys at Flying Monkey Cellars is just insane.

P.S. That's the actual radar shot from around my time of posting at 1700 CDT. It's like a freight train of storms aimed right at Memphis. Gotta post before the power goes out.

23 September 2011

Book Review: Bitters

I got a chance to review this book by some strange means. Someone suggested the Facebook project of the author/photographer, and I kept an eye on the project during its development. I put the author in touch with Ellen Fee at my beloved Fee Bros., saying, "Hey, there's some gorgeous photographs of your bitters in this upcoming book..."

Then my friends the Knipples of From the Southern Table e-mailed me to say, "Hey, we got a sample of a book about bitters, and told the publisher to send you one!"

Now, I can't comment on the photography because I received a printer's proof (a softback black and white sample that has a few errors and isn't the final copy). It's a little book put together using a process called perfect binding. Oddly enough, I've used that equipment many times in the past. The photos online look spectacular, and I can't wait to see the finished product.

Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All
Brad Thomas Parsons
$25, Ten Speed Press, 240 pages

I was expecting a book entirely about the history of bitters, or a review of many different bitters around the world, but I was surprised. While those topics are covered, the majority of the book is devoted to recipes for making your own. And I'd honestly never thought about doing that, but why not? I've made limoncello and spiced rum and other neat things, so why not bitters? It might have to do with the fact that I own over a dozen bitters that will last me for a decade, and I don't have easy access to Tibetan toadroot, sandalwood bark, and powdered--not coarse ground--unicorn horn.

You won't find any trade secrets in here, but there are various bars and bitters enthusiasts across the country that have provided their custom recipes. And yes, finding all the ingredients might be difficult. But the actual preparation for small batches isn't too difficult, and I've already started thinking about some blends I'd like.

If you're a cocktail enthusiast, it's a good book to have on your shelf. You may not be ready at the moment to start making your own bitters, but at some point you're going to run through all the classic cocktails, then all the new ones, then you'll start making your own recipes, and then you'll start building your own ingredients.

Note: This book was received as a sample.

21 September 2011


Ent wine? Why would you make wine out of trees that can walk and talk?

Oh, it's called Entwine.

The wine is made by Wente, and shares branding with Food Network. It's a natural marketing partnership that includes four basic, inexpensive wines: the two below plus Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Sauvignon. For some people, this will be the first bottle of wine they buy, because they trust the Food Network name. If it's attached to Rachel Ray and various cake makers, then it can't be too scary.

And more importantly, Wente makes serious wines at all price levels. They've got a great opportunity to make customers for life who will work their way up the chain of products over the years as they become more and more interested in wine.

2010 Entwine Chardonnay
$13, 13% abv.
Fruity with a lot of cantaloupe and peach. Initially low acidity, but it pops up on the finish with a crisp bite. I've been making a lot of smoked chicken this summer, so apologies if the pairing is getting old, but this worked out very well with some smoked chicken and a nice fruit salad.

2009 Entwine Merlot
$13, 13.5% abv.
This has a slightly buttery nose with dominant aromas of red cherry. It's fruit forward with firm tannins and a medium finish. It's not the fruit bomb you might think about with a $13 California Merlot, but it does give you a good concept of the grape as it's made in the state. This one is a great pizza or burger wine, though maybe you're using some goat cheese on that pizza or sliced pickled onions on the burger.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

19 September 2011

Mark West & Bex

A pair of wines showed up at Casa de Benito that aren't related to each other, but the world of public relations and distribution tends to group certain things together. I received a California Chardonnay and a German Riesling, and frankly both were welcome in the burning heat of the summer.

Have I ranted enough about the heat this summer? It seems as if the past few summers have been particularly brutal, and that impacts the beverage and dining selections. You find yourself yearning for winter so you can enjoy a baked potato without heating up the kitchen for an hour. Sure, a nice five hour chuck roast braise would be delicious, but do I want to finally serve dinner while covered in sweat and trembling from dehydration?

Ach, let's stop kvetching about the heat and get to the wines...

2009 Mark West Chardonnay
$10, 13.8% abv.
Light and fruity, round and low acidity, no oak. Slightly bitter aftertaste. A fairly standard California Chardonnay that performs well at its price bracket. I served this with smoked chicken legs and a light salad. Again, the pervasive BBQ culture of the South has a lot to do with long cooking outside so you don't make the house even more unbearable.

The second wine was a German Riesling called Bex, If I remember correctly, Bex is Latin for "two women named Rebecca". I kid, I kid... I actually don't know the origin behind the name, but would love to know. It also sounds like a comic book nemesis for Ben. Ben is the good one, Bex is the evil twin from a parallel universe who in this case does not have a beard.

Once again I will praise a German wine for having a simple and easy to remember name and label. Screwcap enclosure, and it's not overly tall so it fits in the fridge or wine rack easily. If I need to recommend a German wine, it's easier to say "Bex with the green label" rather than launch into what sounds like a performance of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.

This one was a big hit with my Mom and sister-in-law, who enjoyed the light, refreshing and just slightly sweet quality of the wine.

2009 Bex Riesling
Mosel, Germany
$8, 9.5% abv.
Bright green apple and peach flavors with low sweetness and a quick, crisp finish. Great acidity and I love the low alcohol. Excellent pairing for salads, sandwiches, picnics, that kind of thing.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

16 September 2011

Te Awa Wines

I still get a little tingle of excitement when I get wines from New Zealand. It's a place that's remote even by Australian standards, but is responsible for mainstream English-speaking entertainment like the film versions of The Lord of the Rings.

Here I present three wines from Te Awa on the north island of New Zealand. The full name of the area is Te Awa o Te Atua, Maori for "River of God". Things like this tickle my old anthropology memories, and I can recall reading first edition ethnographies by Margaret Mead and Franz Boaz in the Pacific. I can recall in my graphic design days when I got a bunch of invitations to typeset in a strange vowel-heavy language and thought, "Where did all these Marshallese come from?" And the answer was that loads of them live in Northwest Arkansas working at the various Tyson chicken factories. But let us move on to wine.

2009 Te Awa Syrah
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
99% Syrah, 1% Viognier
$27, 13% abv
Starts out with a tart, bright cherry profile, As it breathes, it's really light and delicate, with a quiet, smooth finish.

2009 Te Awa Sauvignon Blanc
Includes a touch of Semillon.
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
$18, 13.5% abv.
Forward fruit of pineapple and balanced acidity, slightly floral nose and a long finish. Nothing like the big grapefruit SB you might expect from NZ.

2009 Te Awa Chardonnay
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
$27, 13.5% abv.
Light oak with a touch of vanilla and buttered toast. Light body with a mild touch of creamy lemon flavor. Balanced acidity and a long finish. Quite nice.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

14 September 2011

What a Wonderful World

It's a bit clichéd because of commercials these days, but I'll always have a soft spot for Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's ukulele version of Louis Armstrong's classic hit "What A Wonderful World".

I've been to Hawai'i but haven't actually experienced it. Allow me to elaborate. In the summer of 1976 a pregnant Mom and Dad won a trip to Hawai'i and decided it was too good to pass up. I don't count it on my official list of states visited (I've willingly set foot on 31 as of now), but it's kind of a neat story, and an apt intro to this birthday post. Yes, I turned 35, and why am I showing computers?

In 1984 Dad brought home a bunch of boxes which contained a bunch of gleaming white pieces of technology collectively known as the Apple IIc. It was fully a parents-only thing for a few weeks until I got my wee grubby paws on it and began reading the manuals. Within a month I was doing simple programming in Applesoft BASIC and ProDOS. A few months after that I'd mastered the primitive but mathematically complex applications that allowed for word processing, spreadsheets, and databases. With a 1 mHz processor and a scant 128kb of memory, I pushed that beast to its limits all the way to 1994.

I've held onto the dear machine out of sentimental reasons, though I've tossed out all of the interstitial computers. I do find it fascinating that the latest Apple purchase is the postage stamp-sized iPod Nano. An 8 gigabyte hard drive (the Apple IIc didn't even have one, just the 128 kb of RAM and 140 kB of space on a 5.25" floppy). Full color display (hey, the IIc was advanced for its time), ability to play music for 24 hours straight, grab FM radio broadcasts, serve as a pedometer, and lots of other things.

Similarly, in 1984 I was a voracious reader and quietly thought it would be amazing to be a writer. I either wanted to write science fiction or newspaper editorials, a drive that persisted well into adulthood. Obviously nothing came out of those plans (although I've appeared in magazines and newspapers), but I never stopped writing thanks to the advice of a grouchy English teacher who honestly told me how badly I wrote some things, and how well I wrote other things. And eventually, I got some readers, and today, I had hundreds of them wish me a happy birthday via e-mail and Facebook and other electronic means that I could never have imagined back in 1984.

Lots of people wondered what I was drinking or cooking tonight. And the reality is that I had a vegetarian pizza and a ton of water, because I was hungry and thirsty after work. But I did celebrate last weekend with a long-needed dinner party in Nashville with Sally, her husband Terry, my brother-from-another-mother Paul, and others. I'll write about the wines later, but I'll go ahead and show the dishes. We all had a wonderful time, and it was good to get back in the groove of dinner party magic.

I started out with a sparkling Brut Rosé and a platter of cheese and olives. The cheeses were Wensleydale, Red Leicester and Cambozola. Big hit, but then I brought out the following with a Riesling... moules normande, or mussels cooked with apples, bacon, cream, brandy, shallots, and a great deal of love to keep them from getting tough:

Καρπούζι με φέτα, or as it's known in these parts, watermelon with feta, onion, mint, and a little oil and vinegar, plus the requisite salt and pepper. It's stupidly easy to make but tends to be a show-stopper for those that have never tried it. Pro tip: bad implementations of this dish are really watery, and the fruit juice and whey from the cheese make an unattractive pink slurry. Drain everything and pat dry with paper towels before combining, let rest in the fridge for a few hours, and plate with a slotted spoon to avoid excess liquid. Serve with additional sea salt.

The main course was provided by brother man Paul: a 3.6 kg (8 lb) ribeye roast that was dry-aged in the fridge for a full ten days. Slow roasted to medium rare, and served with grilled endive, homemade horseradish sauce, and a freshly prepared chimichurri sauce. The beef and horseradish were huge hits--chimichurri needs some charred flesh to really work well.

I always pass off dessert responsibilities to the host or a guest. I'm not a great pastry chef, I don't have a sweet tooth, and by that part of the evening I really don't want to cook another course. Sally and Terry provided a delicious carrot cake, while Paul provided the Port. A great combination with the raucous jokes and merriment that ensued:

A great time was had by everyone, and as is my tradition, I'm happiest when I can celebrate my birthday by cooking for a bunch of new friends that don't know it's my birthday. I'm happy, they're happy, and it's a great way to get rid of excess bottles of wine. And what about the wine? They'll show up in future posts about those particular sets...

Until then, thanks for the kind birthday wishes, and many more thanks for reading all these years.

12 September 2011

2010 El Raval

As summer draws to a close, I know I'm excited about getting to enjoy more red wines. As much as I love the whites, rosés, and sparklers, the searing heat of a Memphis summer means that often I'm not in the mood for a red. Fortunately things have cooled off a bit. Across Tennessee, people are saying, "This is great--can we just stop right here and stay like this for the rest of the year?

From the company that made Bogatell comes this red blend named after a barrio in Barcelona. Raval is the Catalan word for suburb, derived from the Arabic rabad meaning neighborhood. About 8% of Spanish is comprised of Arabic loanwords. What's always surprised me is how mundane most of the words are. Albóndigas are meatballs, and the notorious alcatraz just means pelican.

2010 El Raval
Montsant D.O.
$13, 14% abv.
80% Grenache, 20% Carignan

Chocolate and leather, smooth with some blueberry flavors. Creamy, soft finish. It's ready to go right after opening the bottle, and I served it with seared flank steak and seasoned rice. Pleasant and mild wine that's great for a quiet evening at home.

Note: This wine was received as a sample.

09 September 2011

2010 Attems Pinot Girgio

The 2010 Attems Pinot Grigio comes from Friuli–Venezia Giulia in the extreme northeast corner of Italy, nestled next to Slovenia and Austria. It's a place where Romance, Germanic, and Slavic languages crash into each other, and the region has changed hands many times over the past twenty centuries. (Indeed, the current borders weren't officially determined until a treaty was signed in 1975.) The capital city Trieste has a fascinating history that includes a 170 year stretch as a free port in the 1720s-1890s and another run as a sort of city state after WWII.

2010 Attems Pinot Grigio
Venezia Giulia IGT
$20, 12.5% abv.

The English version of the site doesn't have a lot of information, but from the Italian one we learn that 15% of this spent some time in oak while the rest was matured in stainless steel. Overripe peach and apricot, with a slight dusky undertone. Low acidity with a medium body and a clean finish. Great when chilled, but it is also enjoyable at room temperature. Quite good if you're looking to upgrade from the ocean of $10 Pinot Grigio, and there's enough depth here to enjoy it with a lot of different foods.

The meal was driven by the weather, not by the wine. But in a nod to italy, I made Memphis-style barbecue sandwiches with ciabatta bread, which is definitely an improvement over the usual cheap hamburger buns. What is Memphis-style? Usually pulled pork topped with a sweet molasses-based sauce and a mayo-based cole slaw. Some places chop the smoked pork shoulder instead (I prefer pulled), some use a mustard-based cole slaw (sometimes fun for a change), and I personally tend to throw a few dashes of hot sauce in there.

On the side, nothing too special... some sliced tomatoes, baked beans, and a couple of hot and spicy pickled okra. Frankly when you get a craving for pickled okra there is really nothing else that comes close. I discovered that pickled okra and good Pinot Grigio are a really wonderful match, with the low acidity wine and the high acidity okra pod.

Note: This wine was received as a sample.

07 September 2011

2008 Feudo Principi di Butera Nero d'Avola

Here's a rare wine. Not rare as in obscure or expensive, but rare in the context of this blog because I went to a brick and mortar store and purchased it rather than waited for it to show up via FedEx or UPS. The life of the wineblogger can seem hedonistic to many, but there are times when you miss actually picking out a wine you'd like to have with dinner. "I'd really like a Côtes du Rhône right now, but I've got three Zinfandels that need notes."

There are, of course, much worse problems to have in this life, and I consider myself lucky to get to try so many interesting wines from so many places.

I found myself in a wine shop, and just wanted a simple and tasty wine. This Nero d'Avola jumped out at me. I'm a longtime fan of the grape, and if it were legal, I think that pizza companies could make a fortune by delivering a cellar-cool bottle of NdA with the hot pies. Something about cured meats like pepperoni, guanciale, bacon, salami, etc., are just undeniably perfect with Nero d'Avola.

2008 Feudo Principi di Butera Nero d'Avola
$10, 13% abv.

This wine is dark and smoky while black cherry aromas dominate. It has a fairly mild flavor with firm, mouth-drying tannins and a long finish. Happily paired with roasted pork where it performed admirably, and of course, I got to pair the leftover wine with some pizza a day later.

05 September 2011

That Which I Dislike

I am not a picky eater by any stretch of the imagination. Part of that was genetics, part was upbringing, but as long as something isn't rotten (in a bad way) or more willing to bite me back (excluding interesting fights with live food), I'm there. I can't recall anything past the age of 13 that I've refused to try. It doesn't mean I liked everything, but when you've consumed live ants and baby octopus that are still twitching slightly and other crazy things, you develop something of an iron stomach.

There's been some talk in the blogosphere recently about the role of negativity in wine writing. I typically don't post negative reviews. I don't lie about wines I dislike, but if something's boring or bad I really just ignore it and focus on the stuff that's drinkable. I think there's also an objective standard like in judging a dog show. The Bedlington Terrier looks ridiculous and might be weird to have running around the house, but I could still say that an individual dog is an excellent representative of the breed standard. I think this approach is important when looking at some of the stranger grapes.

But just to release the valve a bit, I'm going to point out some items that just don't do it for me. I'll consume any of these without crying or moving into projectile vomiting, but it's more a case that I don't get why they are so beloved.

...and my Japanese readership drops to zero. I've had it hot, cold, cheap, expensive, with food and without. Still not a fan. With sincerity, I bow and say すみません.

Go on, make hummus with cannellini beans or mashed potatoes and it will be just as tasty. The worst offense is when chickpeas are paired with osso buco, truly one of the greatest dishes ever developed by mankind. Chickpeas are a neutral starch in a nugget form, and are better replaced by rice or beans or pasta or anything with a polysaccharide chain.

Ranch Dressing
Two things really bug me about ranch dressing. 1) People who love it slather it on everything. Fries, dipping your sandwich in it, and coating every vegetable in sight with the stuff. People even have Ranch Dressing Fountains at weddings. Moderation, people. 2) I love buttermilk, and happily cook with it and drink it straight. The population at large finds this disgusting, and will only touch buttermilk if in pancake form and covered with butter and syrup. That ranch dressing you're devouring by the gallon? Lots of buttermilk in there.

You can add shark in here, since they're both cartilaginous fishes of the Chondrichthyes class that can easily smell like ammonia or urine if the piece of seafood is just fifteen minutes too old. In both cases, you find yourself thinking that it's interesting from a curiosity standpoint, but that there are thousands of tastier things in the ocean.

Actually, I like Jägermeister. What I can't stand is that the popular perception of it as "the last thing you drink on a dare before you throw up". This gives a bad name to bitters, herbal liqueurs, and anything licorice or anise flavored. There's this amazing world of aperitifs and digestifs out there that people are scared to try in their proper usage because of stupidity in bars.

The Chicago Hot Dog
Sigh... more hate mail. I've had these in Chicago and prepared by expats of Cook County. The concept isn't bad, but I think it's destroyed by the neon green relish. Not only is it as sweet as pancake syrup, but it's dosed up with blue food coloring to get that bright shade not found in nature. I say ditch the relish, and make a crude salsa from the tomato, sport peppers, dill pickle spear, onion, and celery salt.

The Neologism "Foodie"
I don't normally get angry about words, but "foodie" bugs me. There are perfectly good words like gourmand and gourmet and gastronome and epicurean that fit your particular niche. Foodie sounds like the babbling of a toddler that is constantly begging for nourishment but can't use big words yet. I do not object to those who call themselves foodies--such folks love good food and are doing some amazing writing online and in print. But I can still twitch my whiskers in annoyance when someone calls me by that name. If people start calling oenophiles "winies", so help me God I'll shut this site down. I'm talking full on, turn the station wagon around, we're not going to Disney World, kids.

Credit goes to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh for the Mr. Yuk logo. I remember it well from my childhood. Not so much from a warning, but rather reading off the numbers to Mom because I'd sampled some bottle of vitamins or dish soap or whatever. What can I say... young Benito had an expansive palate.

02 September 2011

Big House Wines: The Slammer & The Birdman

Whenever I see these jail-themed wines from Big House, a line of dialogue starts running through my head:

"This is the main cellblock area. Home to such famous criminals as Al Capone, Mickey Cohen, Joseph 'Dutch' Cretzer, and Robert Stroud, the famous Birdman of Alcatraz."

So says the late great Phil Hartman in his role as the former prison guard and current tour guide Vicky from the infamous scene in 1993's So I Married An Axe Murderer. That story then takes a dark and disturbing turn that has never failed to make me laugh.

And on the subject of prison wine, be sure to check out the story of Sherman "O.T." Powell via The Moth Podcast. In order to fund his cravings for snacks and cigarettes while in the clink, Powell went into the wine business. He talks about the headaches and challenges of production, marketing, and dealing with the regulatory state--it's strangely like real life wine business.

2009 Big House "The Slammer" Syrah
Central Coast, California
$10, 13.5% abv.
Strawberry and cherries, with black tea and firm tannins. Little bit of pencil shavings and a slightly nutty aftertaste. A decent pizza and burger sort of wine that goes down easily. Good choice for backyard BBQs, which in the South can continue well into November.

2009 Big House "The Birdman" Pinot Grigio
$10, 13.5% abv. (also available in the 3L Octavin format)
A little orange marmalade with a supporting cast of dried peach. Light, low acidity, and a quick, short finish.

I served the Pinot Grigio with this neat little thing I found at the local grocery store: a set of a dozen frozen coconut shrimp with a sweet orange sauce and hot chili sauce. OK, it's pre-fab frozen food, and it's not that healthy, but damn these things are delicious, and the box retails for around $8. Excellent pairing with the wine.

Note: These wines were received as samples.